Season and Sake- Seasonal Sake; Winter – Spring
Sake is enjoyed in all seasonal scenes.In old traditional seasonal events,various kinds of sake seem to have been served.
Toso, the New Year’s spiced sake. Sake is essential to celebrate the New Year. Made from Japanese herbs, it is served to wish for good health.
Setsubun and Risshun . Back in the old days, the Japanese New Year started on Risshun which was the first day of spring. On the day before Risshun, which is Setsubun, people try to drive away evil spirits to welcome the New Year. One of the recent much-talked-about celebratory sakes is Risshun-asa-shibori. Moromi is pressed on the evening of Setsubun and on the morning of Risshun, the sake is shipped as namazake (unpasteurized sake). This fresh sake is delivered only on the day of Risshun.
Now for St. Valentine’s Day, we can see some chocolates containing sake.
Shirozake (sweet white sake), which is equivalent to amazake (sweet sake), is enjoyed during Momono-sekku (literally Peach Festival; Girl’s Festival). Together with amazake, a hishimochi (diamond-shaped colored rice cake) and hina-arare (bite-sized crackers) a re used as decorations for the hinadankazari (hina doll set).
Also, some places hold a Kyokusui-no-utage festival, which used to be a graceful Imperial court event in the Heian Period, where people exchange sake and compose waka (poetry).
Hanamizake. With the start of the cherry blossom season, people enjoy the full bloom with sake, which tastes especially good.